Purpose of music videosA music video is a short film integrating a song and imagery. They are predominantly used as amarketing device to advertise the song and the artist, aiming to promote the sale of musicrecordings. It also evokes a reaction from the audience, which can in turn create a ‘word ofmouth’ buzz which is one of the most effective means of marketing.They are also used for extension of income, as music videos are shown for a long period oftime, thus keep the artist in the public eye for a longer period of time. Once their album has beenreleased they would tend to lose attention from the public, however the use of music videosenables them to rank up their album sales months after the release. This also ensures they areable to recoup the initial cost of creating and recording the music originally.Music videos also allow the artist to be creative and express themselves. Videos can amplify thelyrics and create a further meaning and depth to the song. This appeals to fans as they feel theyare being given an insight to the meaning and further understanding of the song.A further purpose of music videos is to display any further talents the artist might have, forexample Michael Jackson’s video for Thriller, he was able to showcase his dancing and acting.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA
Development of musicvideosIt is commonly thought that the first music video was Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and whilst it is almostcertainly the case that the video for the track made the difference between it being a minor hit and one ofthe biggest selling singles of all time in the UK (2.1m copies sold), it can neither be said to be the first musicpromo nor to have precipitated the arrival of MTV. Others argue music videos have existed since films couldhave sound, as some performers would project images that related and reflected the song and lyrics onto ascreen as they played live.Music video isn’t that new, in fact they’ve been around since before films could have sound. Someperformers would project images onto a screen as they played live, these images would then reflect thethemes and emotions of the music played. The earliest versions of what we think of as the music video wereto come in the 1920s with the Vitaphone shorts.From the 1930s to the early 1960s musicals were one of thedominant genres in film and many set pieces were extracted to promote the films. The growth of MTV since1981 was rapid, with American artists realising its potential and becoming involved. MTV was owned byViacom by the mid 80’s, a major media conglomerate., and its success had a hugely positive effect on therise of music videos as a whole.Music videos are much less simplistic than they were previously, as ideas have already previously beenused, the proliferation of music videos has led to a loss of potential original ideas. Therefore to competewith the other successful, exciting videos artists and producers have had to focus more on coming up withnew unique ideas that are becoming gradually more and more controversial, to stand out and make animpact in this thriving industry, all in order to attract listeners attention.
New Technologies/DirectionsMusic video is no longer a major production paid in full by record companies andcorporations. With the rise of the internet, which is very much the ‘zeitgeist’ or our decade,and the rise of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites, musicvideos are accessible almost on demand and more innovative. As MTV is no longer totallydedicated to music videos but also reality TV shows such as Jersey Shore, the internet hasbecome the main tool in distributing music video. As a result audiences have become moreinvolved in music videos, as they have a wider variety of way in which to view videos. Theycan also comment and interact online, using Web Version 2, which involves user generatedcontent(UGC). An example of UGC in music video is Avenged Sevenfold’s music video‘Unholy Confessions’ where the band invited fans to send in their memories andexperiences as well as performances of Avenged’s music and created a montage of it fortheir video. This can be seen to relate to Jenkin’s definition of the participatory culture,where “fans and other consumers are invited to actively participate in the creation andcirculation of new content.” The internet as a free platform that allows for bands to createmore music videos then any record label and viral videos are one of the most effective waysin marketing and raising awareness towards a new video. A good example if this is RebeccaBlack’s ‘Friday’ which cause uproar on you tube and social networking sites.
Conventions of musicvideosCamera – there are usually a variety of shots to keep the video interesting and the readerengrossed in it, however this can depend on the genre. Long shots, mid shots and close upsare particularly common in music videos. These help to create emphasis on theartist/band, location and emotions linked to the song, they will typically draw attention tothe meaning behind the song. Close ups in particular will to be used to show the artist lipsyncing to the music. The movement will be used in a similar way to draw attention to themost important aspects of the video.Editing – jump cuts are the predominant Jump cuts is the predominant editing techniqueused in music videos, as it allows a sudden change in scenes, which is vital as music videosare very short. Effects such as dissolves and fades are also commonly used.Music videos will also often use mise-en-scene such as the lighting, clothing and props toreflect and amplify the lyrics or meaning behind the song. These will often differ betweengenres, pop videos having very bright costumes to represent positivity and happiness whilstrock videos may have darker costumes and dramatic make up to symbolise the idea ofbeing edgy and rebellious.
Conventions of musicvideosIndie/Rock : They often are in black and white whilst the artist/band is shown throughout the video, asthey are particularly important in this type of genre. Extreme close ups and long shots are popular, asare dark and original locations, such as gig venues. They are usually somewhat face paced, and havesome use of special effects, though less than other genres. They also tend to be more controversial andabstract, even strange than more mainstream videos for examplehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ0AFriC7ZM (White Lies – Farewell to the Fairground) andhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klvBqiNtaeY (The Strokes – Under the Cover of Darkness)Hip Hop - Locations tends to be a party or club in a rich, luxury location. There will usually be the use ofalcohol, and characters will wear recognised brands and clothing. The whole video will appearluxurious, with expensive cars and houses. Camera shots tend to be long and establishing to show themoney involved, which is often an important value of said genre. There will also be many close ups toshow the jewellery and assets of the artists, to establish their high status. They often feature attractivewomen which have been argued to be objectified in such music videos. Often, a hip hop video does notfollow a storyline, but only really follows the genre, however the artist tends to be very involved andthe video is centred around them.Pop videos - These tend to be very bright and colourful, which cheerful, positive atmospheres. The useof close ups show the cheerful and upbeat emotions are common, as are extreme close ups to showthe purity and innocence in the personality of the artists they are usually aimed at a younger audience,and are very upbeat, for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-u5WLJ9Yk4 (Britney Spears –Hit Me Baby One More Time)
Generic Elements ofMusic VideosGenre’ is a critical tool that helps us study texts and audience responses to texts bydividing them into categories based on common elements.Daniel Chandler (2001) argues that the word genre comes from the French (and originallyLatin) word for kind or class. The term is widely used in rhetoric, literary theory, mediatheory to refer to a distinctive type of ‘text’ However Steve Neale (1995) stresses that“genres are not ‘systems’ they are processes of systematization” – i.e. Theyare dynamic and evolve over time Music video is a medium intended to appealdirectly to youth subcultures by reinforcing generic elements of musical genres.In terms of genre, there are narrative and performance and some that combine both.Both performance and narrative based videos are very often purely intertextual e.g.Blink 182 ‘All The Small Things’. The generic conventions stay the same but the style(thelook of something) changes between music genres. The conventions of difference genresvary in many ways as we have previously seen. Representation is a key difference, as hiphop videos tend to objectify women whilst rock videos portray them assomewhat more equal and powerful, this is evidentfrom the still shots on this page and the differencesin the way women are dressed, their body languageand represented as a whole.
Issues surroundingrepresentationReports suggest that gender, ethnic, and age portrayals within music videos have notsignificantly changed over time. Dominant figures within rock, country, and hip hop videosused to usually be more likely to be white males, which is supported by much researchintogender and minority representation. However, male primary and supporting figures shownvaried in age, whereas female primary and supporting figures did not. These results suggestthat there may be more age flexibility for male video figures. The majority of primaryfigures (78.9%) was between the ages of 18 and 34, which may indicate that there is appealand commercial value for this age group, perhaps because the majority of audiences ofmusic videos, particularly on TV channels such as MTV are younger.Music videos have been criticised in two main ways for their representation of gender. Onebeing the objectifying of women, it has been argued that this portrayal is demeaning andsimply shows women in a sexual way with no other. This appears to be particularly the casein videos of the hip hop genre, whilst indie and rock genres tend to present women in amore equal light to men, they tend to be more independent and even more masculine.Sideman found portrayal of women in music videos to be ‘underrepresented’, having‘stereotypical occupational roles’ and ‘revealing attire’. However it has also been arguedthat in videos men are portrayed as objects, relating to the idea of the ‘female gaze’.
Theoretical ApproachesAndrew GoodwinHe identified 5 key aspects which the audience should try to identify in music videos.Thought beats –seeing the sound1.) Look at the music itself, taking into account its structure e.g. verses/chorus2.) The voice of the song, the artists voice is unique and thus can form identification ortrademarks that assist the star image3.) Mode of address – if a song is seen as a narrative or story then the artist is thestoryteller. Consequently the music video can be viewed as a two communicationdevice, they are telling and story and we are listening..Narrative and performanceSongs do not give us as the audience the complete narrative, we instead interpret what wedo know about the song, the music video allows Goodwin explains that music videos shouldignore common narrative. It is important in their role of advertising . Music videos shouldcoherent repeatability . Narrative and performance work hand in hand it makes it easier forthe audience to watch over and over without loosing interest. The artist acting as bothnarrator & participant helps to increase the authenticity however the lip sync and othermimed actions remains the heart of music videos. The audience need to believe this is real.
Theoretical ApproachesAndrew Goodwin.The Star Image – This is a vital aspect of the music video, the meta narrative whichdescribes the artists progress over time plays a vital part in the music video productionprocess..Relation of visuals to song – According to Goodwin, there are three ways in which musicvideos work to promote a song.1.) Illustrate – this is the most common way. Music videos use a set of images to illustratethe meaning of lyrics and genre2.) Amplify – this is similar to repeatability, it is where meanings and effects aremanipulated and constantly shown through the video and drummed into our vision.3.) Disjuncture – where the meaning of the song is completely ignored..Technical aspects of music videoRoland BarthesHis theory of the ‘Grain of voice’ suggests that the singing voice should be viewed as a musicalinstrument and therefore be able to make associations of its own. This can link with the idea ofthought beats from Goodwin’s theory
Contempory Issuessurrounding music videoshttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8234125.stmYouTube previously banned official music videos owned by record labels in the UK from beinguploaded to the site in March 2009, due to copyright reasons. This ban was eventually liftedfollowing an agreement being reached between the PRS and YouTube. However, YouTube canstill be seen as a problem for music companies as it can result in much piracy of the videos andmusic they make available to the public. On the other hand, by making these music videos easilyavailable they will raise much awareness and be able to have more effective viral advertising.Music videos have been argued to be inappropriate for young viewers, they have be accused ofsexualising children at a very young age due to the nature of their images and lyrics. Thus thegovernment are proposing to give music videos ratings, some will only be shown after thewatershed. These apply especially to the videos by the likes of artists such as Lady Gaga andRihanna, who are more controversial. Music videos have also been deemed to have otherinappropriate content, being too controversial and even disturbing for younger viewers, such as30 Seconds to Mars’s ‘Hurricane’, where usually only the censored version will be shown ontelevision http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RLwuDQSkDI.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13639487http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13664591